UAAP volleyball: Job not done for La Salle with return to Finals
MANILA, Philippines — After bringing back La Salle to the UAAP Finals for the first time since 2018, the Lady Spikers insist their job is not yet done as they try to stop unbeaten National University in the best-of-three series for the Season 84 women’s volleyball crown starting Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re not done,” said Leiah Malaluan in Filipino after firing a team-high 16 points as La Salle eliminated Ateneo, 25-19, 25-20, 25-23, on Thursday.
“We have to work harder in everything we need to do when it comes to the game,” she added.
The prolific rookie hitter was happy to help carry La Salle after missing the 2019 finals and two canceled seasons due to the pandemic. And she’s offering their semifinals win to their seniors and coach Ramil de Jesus, who is set to coach in his 11th championship appearance of the last 12 seasons.
“We really want to win. We want to bounce back in this game,” said Malaluan, referring to their defeat to Adamson in their last elimination game. “We offer this to coach Ramil and to our seniors. We really want to bear the fruit of our hardships during our one-week training.”
Malaluan, a top rookie candidate who emerged as La Salle’s leading scorer and league’s Top 5 with a total of 193 points in 14 games, is determined to bring back the glory to the Lady Spikers, who last won a title in Season 80 in 2018.
As La Salle takes on a strong NU side that swept their two elimination head-to-head, Malaluan shows no intimidation in facing the Lady Bulldogs, who had a 14-0 record to earn an outright finals berth.
“Entering the finals, my mindset is the season is not yet over. We really have to work hard for our ates and coaches, and the La Salle community,” she said.
La Salle is eyeing its 12th UAAP title, while NU seeks to capture its first women’s volleyball championship since 1957 as the two collide in Game 1, which is set for 5 p.m.